Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Frankfurt Car Show

Generally, every two years....Frankfurt has an international car show, held normally in September.  The first show I ever attended was in 1979.  The highlight of that show was the introduction of the VW Jetta.

For several decades....the Frankfurt car show was one of the top five in the world, and was an event that lasted ten days, and typically had almost a million people show up.

This year?  2017?

Well, this is an interesting twist.  There are several car companies which have said they refuse to participate this year in the show (Nissan, Fiat, Volvo, Mitsubishi, Rolls Royce).

Adding to the list....Tesla.

It's an odd thing that the Tesla crowd aren't going to show.  According to the Tesla management....they are looking at a whole new way of showing off their car, and think the car show gimmick....simply doesn't work in this modern age.

One of the general slams that people have about the Frankfurt car show is that it's hyped up for two groups....the general public, and the auto-writers of various news publications.  The first day of the show is generally reserved for the auto-writers and VIPs.  For the companies involved....this is the key part of their whole agenda....getting good press out of the news folks.

I tend to agree with Tesla....the car show thing is something left over from the 1970s and 1980s....where magazine articles and news clips mattered.

How to market Tesla without the car show participation?  No one says much....just that they are reviewing options. For me....I'd suggest finding a hundred Germans in a particular region, and simply giving them the car for a month (in a urban setting where a free recharge was possible in a local park-house near their office).  I'd put a video-team on the hundred guests, and then market this via Facebook and social media.

What does this all say for the Frankfurt car show?  Well....it's not good news.  My guess is that the show is virtually safe for another five to seven years.  But I would start to worry in 2019 and 2021....if another four companies joined the non-participation angle.

The big negative to me....even though I will go to the show?  The massive crowd.  Trying to get into the Mercedes or Audi area is a mess, and it's like a three-ring circus.  About two hours of the stress, and I'm starting to think about leaving.  Typically by the end of hour three....I'm on my way out of the show.

For those interested....14 September is the start date of the IAA.  I'd strongly recommend NOT driving to the show....but use the Frankfurt Metro system to take you to the front door.  The Monday through Friday tickets are 12 Euro....the weekend tickets are 14 Euro.  If you wanted opening day....it's in the forty-Euro range (I wouldn't recommend that day).  Food and drink are available, and I might suggest a small umbrella if the weather goes sour (you do have to walk from hall to hall).

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